Foreign Trade of China's Book Publishing Industry

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Chapter 5
Foreign Trade of China's Book Publishing Industry

A country's foreign trade in books reflects the competitiveness of its book publishing industry in the international market. Since China' accession to the WTO, China's book publishing industry has been paying more attention to the international market, which can not only contribute to book sales but also provide more authors. Foreign book trade takes two important forms: book trade and copyright trade. This chapter will analyze the current situation of the foreign trade of China's book publishing industry from these two aspects.


China's book import and export account for less than 0.1% of its national total volume of import and export, although it is growing at a tremendous rate. For example, in 2004, the total volume of national foreign trade amounted to US$1.15479 trillion,1 while book imports and exports totaled US$59.549 million, 2 accounting for 0.005% of the country's total volume of foreign trade.


Total Volume China's book export decelerated from 2003 to 2004. In 2004, 4.6849 million copies of 836,259 titles, totaling US$20.8449 million, were exported, down 18.72% from 2003. However, the copies and value increased by 0.75% and 11.66% respectively.

1 Li Yushi, "Reasons and Influence of Rapid Growth of China's Foreign Trade," China Foreign Trade, no.4 (2005).

2 Department of Finance and Planning of the GAPP, "Overview of China's Press and Publishing Industry in 2004," China Press and Publishing Journal, August 31, 2005.

The number and value of exported copies by single title were low but the profit increased compared with 2003. In 2004, China exported 5.6 copies of each title on average and the average list price of each title was US$4.45.

Categories The topics of exported books were in relatively balanced proportions. General books accounted for the highest proportions in terms of title number and value, specifically 30.04% of total exported titles, 20.74% of total copies, and 25.64% of the total export value. Children's books had the most copies by single title. Books on philosophy and social science had the highest trade prices (see Table 5.1).

From book exports during 2003–2004 we can see that children's books grew at the highest rate in terms of export copies and value. However, books on natural science and technology declined the fastest (see Table 5.2).


Total Volume In 2004, China imported 3.3807 million copies of 602,307 titles, totaling US$38.7041 million. Compared with 2003, the number of imported titles decreased by 7.13%, but the copies and value increased by 18.48% and 3.22% respectively. China imported on average 5.6 copies of each title, almost the same as exported copies. Because of the high list price of foreign books, the average trade price of each imported title was US$11.45 (see Table 5.3).

Categories Books on culture, science, education, and physical education topped the number of imported titles and copies. Children's books by single title had the largest number of imported copies, 9.39 copies for each title each time (see Table 5.3). The per-title trade price of general books was the highest, reaching US$22.61.

The book imports in 2003–2004 (see Table 5.4) shows that the number of imported titles on culture, science, education, and physical education had the highest growth rate. Imported copies of books on literature and art dropped by a large margin, but copies of all other categories increased by about 30%. Although the number of general books imported grew slowly, their value more than doubled that of 2002 due to the significant rise of book prices.


The total number of titles and copies of China's exported books far exceeded those of imported books. In 2004, exported titles were 233,952 more than imported titles (1.3042 million copies), but the total value of exported books was far below that of imported books with a deficit of US$17.8592 million (see Table 5.5). However, the deficit started to decrease in 2004 compared with 2003 because the decrease of foreign books' trade prices was faster than the increase of domestic books' trade prices. In 2004, the average unit price of imported books decreased by 13% over 2003, while that of exported books increased by 11%.

CategoryNumber of titlesProportion in total exported booksNumber of copies (10,000)Proportion in total exported books (%)Number of imported copies of single title (10,000)Value (US$10,000)Proportion in total exported books (%)Trade price of single title (US$)
Philosophy and Social Science152,22518.2077.6216.575.10490.7623.546.32
Culture, Science, education, and Physical Education149,42117.8787.1518.605.83312.6215.003.59
Literature and Art181,60621.7281.6617.434.50430.9120.675.28
Natural Science and Technology57,9626.9347.8010.208.25160.167.683.35
General Books251,21130.0497.1720.743.87534.5325.645.50
 Number of titlesNumber of copies (10,000)Export value (US$10,000)
Category20032004Growth rate(%)20032004Growth rate(%)20032004Growth rate(%)
Philosophy and Social Science233,239152,225–34.7392.3977.62–15.99 508.95490.76 –3.57
Culture, Science, education, and Physical Education154,531149,421–3.3168.8687.1526.56234.50312.6233.31
Literature and Art196,473181,606–7.5789.7281.66–8.98369.11430.9116.74
Natural Science and Technology119,76157,962–51.6039.7447.8020.28136.37160.1617.45
General Books245,622251,2112.28116.0597.17–16.27516.40534.533.51
CategoryNumber of titlesProportion in total imported books (%)Number of copies (10,000)Proportion in total imported books (%)Number of imported copies of single titleValue (US$10,000)Proportion in total imported books (%)Trade price of single title (US$)
Philosophy and Social Science91,26715.1540.9412.114.49523.8913.5412.80
Culture, Science, education, and Physical Education186,66930.9995.0628.125.09640.3216.546.74
Literature and Art72,69012.0743.6012.906.00313.428.107.19
Natural Science and Technology153,29325.4585.1325.185.551,499.7838.7517.62
General Books55,9269.2933.489.905.99756.8519.5522.61
 Number of titlesNumber of copies (10,000)Import value (US$10,000)
Category20032004Growth rate(%)20032004Growth rate(%)20032004Growth rate(%)
Philosophy and Social Science97,57691,267–6.4730.5040.9434.23567.23523.89–7.64
Culture, Science, education, and Physical Education138,479186,66934.8071.5895.0632.80706.34640.32–9.35
Literature and Art104,64272,690–30.5359.4343.60–26.64651.99313.42–51.93
Natural Science and Technology222,525153,293–31.1168.6685.1323.99 1,397.331,499.787.33
General Books51,13555,9269.3725.3033.4832.33276.80756.85173.43
 Number of titlesNumber of copies (10,000)Value (US$10,000)
Trade Surplus380,274233,952179.67130.42–1,883.01–1,785.92

Books on natural science and technology had the largest trade deficit due in part to the comparatively backward level of science and technology in China (see Table 5.6). China will emphasize the need to import books that will aid economic and social development and enhance the national scientific and technological level.



Total Volume In 2004, Chinese publishers exported 1,314 copyrights, up 22% over 2003. According to statistics from the National Copyright Administration of China, Chinese publishers exported 635 copyrights in 2001, 1,297 in 2002, and 1,077 in 2003.

Figure 5.1 shows that in 2001, the number of exported book copyrights was less than 1,000, but 2002 saw a great leap with the number exceeding 1,000 for the first time. However, there was a sharp decline and a negative growth in 2003 due to the SARS outbreak in the first half of the same year. A remarkable growth appeared in 2004, up 22% over 2003 and 1.3% over 2002.

 Number of titlesNumber of copies (10,000)value (US$10,000)
Philosophy and Social Science152,22591,26760,95877.6240.9436.68490.76523.89 –33.17
Culture, Science, education, and Physical Education149,421186,669–37,24887.1595.06–7.91312.62640.32–327.70
Literature and Art181,60672,690108,91681.6643.6038.06430.91313.42117.49
Natural Science and Technology57,962153,293–95,33147.8085.13–37.33160.161,499.78–1,339.62
General Books251,21155,926195,28597.1733.4863.69534.53756.85–222.32

Target Areas In 2004, the main target areas of China's book copyright exports were Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Mainland China exported 1,027 copyrights to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan (94 to Macao, 278 to Hong Kong, and 655 to Taiwan), accounting for 78.2% of the exported total of 1,314. China exported 287 copyrights to foreign countries, accounting for 21.8% of the total. The ratio of exports to foreign countries to those to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan was 1:3.6.

In 2003, mainland China exported 811 copyrights, 178 to Hong Kong, and 472 to Taiwan, totaling 650 titles, accounting for 80.1% of the total. China exported 161 copyrights to foreign countries, accounting for 19.9%. The ratio of exports to foreign countries to those to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan was nearly 1:4. Compared with 2003, copyright exports to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan grew by 56.8% in 2004, while those to foreign countries increased by 78.3%, narrowing the gap between exports to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan and those to foreign countries. This indicates a great progress for mainland China in tapping foreign copyright markets since 2004.

With frequent cross-Straits communication, Taiwan has become the top trade partner for mainland China's copyright export. However, the proportion of copyright exports to Taiwan started to show a downward trend. Figure 5.2 shows that in 2004, publishers of mainland China exported 655 copyrights to Taiwan, accounting for 49.8% of the total; in 2003, 472 to Taiwan, accounting for 43.8% of the total; and in 2002, 755 to Taiwan, accounting for 58.2% of the total.3

In 2004, China exported copyrights to 16 countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, up by three over that of 2003. The target Asian countries are mostly those deeply influenced by Chinese culture and connected closely with the economic development of mainland China. Specifically, China exported 225 copyrights to Asian countries, 90 more than the total of 135 in 2003, accounting for 78.4% of the total, which is smaller than 83.9% in 2003. In addition to Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, China also exported copyrights to Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia in 2004.

3 National Copyright Administration of China, "Statistics of 2002 National Copyright Exports," http:// (Accessed May 2007).

In 2004, China exported copyrights to six European countries: France, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Ukraine, and Italy. In 2003, it only exported to four European countries: France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Russia. All the European countries in 2004, except France, were new markets.

The year 2004 witnessed a significant rise in mainland China's copyright exports to North America. In 2004, the United States and Canada imported 37 copyrights from China, making North America more important than Europe as the destination for China's copyright exports. The rise in copyright exports to North America was mainly due to the growth of exports to the United States from five in 2003 to 14 in 2004. It shows that the potential of the American market had yet to be further tapped and the United States was likely to become a new growth point for China's copyright exports.

China exports copyrights mainly to Asian countries. In 2004, the top six importers were South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Figure 5.3). Altogether 220 copyrights were exported to these six countries, accounting for 76.7% of the total to foreign countries. The number of copyrights exported to South Korea exceeded the total to the other five countries.

In 2003, the top six importers of China's copyrights were South Korea (89), Japan (15), France (11), Singapore (nine) and the United States (five). Comparing 2003 and 2004, South Korea and Japan were relatively stable while Singapore's imports increased significantly.

In 2003, Singapore imported three copyrights from China and 53 in 2004. The Singapore government's promotion of Chinese language education could in part be responsible for this. The book copyrights Singapore imported from China in 2004 can be divided into four kinds: Chinese language learning books and dictionaries, children's books, books on Chinese folk customs, and textbooks on mathematics and physics. The first three categories, totaling 30, could be included in the category of Chinese language, culture, education, and physical education.

Language China exported the copyright of 1,190 titles in simplified or traditional Chinese in 2004, with the majority to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Only 93 went to foreign countries, meaning that some countries just bought the reprint right in Chinese instead of the right of translation into other languages.

It is noteworthy that the exported reprint rights in Chinese include the copyright of bilingual editions, chiefly Chinese–foreign-language dictionaries. In 2004, nine dictionaries were exported mainly to countries in Southeast Asia, such as Singapore and Malaysia where English is the official language. No such dictionaries had been exported to English-speaking countries in Europe and North America, which were potential markets.

Among the 287 copyrights exported in 2004, 184 were translation rights. Of the 184 titles, 97 were rights of translation into Korean, 24 into Japanese, nine into Thai and Vietnamese, and 126 into other Asian languages. Only 62 were meant for translation into English, the most widely used language in the world, accounting for 21.6% of the total exported copyrights.4 Most of these 62 English translation rights were exported to the United States and Singapore. The United Kingdom did not import any copyrights and Canada only imported one. This shows that China has yet to promote English translation rights to English-speaking countries with tremendous potential.

Content In 2004, the culture, science, education, and physical education category had the highest export proportion with 291 titles, accounting for 22.15%. It was followed by 185 titles on literature. Next were medicine and hygiene, economics, and linguistics (see Table 5.7 and Figure 5.4).

4 Since a copyright may be exported to various countries and regions, the sum of individual numbers may be bigger than the total number.

 2004  2003 
RankingCategoryNumber of titlesProportion in total exported copyrights (%)RankingCategoryNumber of titlesProportion in total exported copyrights (%)
1Culture, Science, Education, and Physical Education29122.151Culture, Science, Education, and Physical Education27825.8
2Literature18514.082Politics and Law12211.3
3Medicine and Hygiene14210.813Linguistics11710.9
5Economics13810.505Medicine and Hygiene898.3
6History and Geography916.936History and Geography585.4
7Politics and Law775.867Economics555.1
CategoryNumber of exported titlesRanking Up/DownNumber of total published titlesGrowth rate (%)
Culture, Science, Education, and Physical Education29174,9623.65
Medicine and Hygiene1428,348–4.24
History and Geography916,84111.84
Politics and Law778,573–1.48

Compared with 2003, the structure of exported copyrights in 2004 had the following features:

First, the total number of books on medicine and hygiene decreased while the export ranking went up (see Table 5.8).

Second, the number of titles on politics and law increased, but the export proportion declined sharply. In the period 2003–2004, exported copyrights on politics and law titles were mainly those relating to target countries or regions. For instance, Taiwan imported the copyrights of Analysis of Contemporary Politics in Taiwan and Research on Taiwan's Election in 2003, as well as five books in the Democratic Progressive Party Research Series in 2004. Japan imported copyrights of The SinoJapanese War of 18941895 and East Asian Politics and On Protracted War in 2004. Some topics were about China, such as Wise Quotations: Pre-Qin Volume and What Koreans Have but Chinese Don't which were introduced to South Korea. Books on economics were mainly exported to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Books on the trends of China's economic development and economic and policy environment also attracted the attention of foreign countries. For example, South Korea imported copyrights of Thus Speaks Zhang Ruimin—Wisdom of China's First CEO and Why Southerners Can Earn Money. Vietnam imported the copyright of China's Fiscal Management.

The traditions and cultures of different countries determine their preference for certain topics. Southeast Asian countries within the sphere of Chinese culture selected more topics on traditional Chinese culture and Chinese language learning. Denmark, known as the Kingdom of Fairy Tales, imported children's books copyrights, such as Monkey King Was Born and The Monkey King. Germany, famous for precision technology, imported mainly copyrights on technology, such as the Biomaterial and Biotechnology Series. France, boasting a long artistic tradition, was interested in topics on Eastern aesthetics and culture, such as Selected Works of Modern Chinese Masters. The Kirghiz people of Kyrgyzstan and the Khalkhas people in China's Xinjiang have a common cultural heritage and the same legendary Manas, and it was no surprise that Kyrgyzstan purchased the copyright of Manas.

Exporter Only a limited number of publishers, mainly based in Beijing, have exporting strength, although publishers in 27 provinces and cities have been engaged in the copyright export trade. Successful exporters are from Beijing (central publishers), Shanghai, Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, and Hunan. Central publishers headquartered in Beijing and the local publishers exported 653 copyrights in 2004, accounting for almost half of the total. Shanghai's copyright export ranked second with 193 titles. Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, and Hunan were also in leading positions. In terms of the per publisher average export, Shanghai had the strongest exporting ability with nearly five copyrights for each publisher. Next were Hebei, Shandong, Liaoning, and Henan. Central publishers ranked sixth (see (a) and (b) of Table 5.9).

Publishers exporting copyrights to foreign countries are mainly located in major exporting provinces and cities, such as Fudan University Press, Peking University Medical Press, Jiuzhou Press, the People's Sports Publishing House, Shandong People's Publishing House, and the People's Publishing House. Fudan University Press ranked first with 68 copyrights exported (see Table 5.10).

RankingRegionNumber of publishersNumber of exported copyrights
RankingRegionNumber of publishersPer publisher average copyright export
RankingPublisherNumber of exported copyrights
1Fudan University Press68
3Peking University Medical Press46
2Jiuzhou Press44
4The People's Sports Publishing House32
4Shandong People's Publishing House42
6The People's Publishing House41
8Publishing House of the Electronics Industry34
8Higher Education Press34
2Liaoning Science and Technology Publishing House46
10Hunan Juvenile and Children's Publishing House30
11Peking University Press28
12Law Press China27
13Shaanxi People's Education Publishing House23
14SDX Joint Publishing Company20
15Petrel Publishing House19
15Hebei People's Publishing House19
15The Commercial Press International Co., Ltd.19
19Beijing University of Physical Education Press16
19Liaohai Publishing House16
19Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Press16
22Shanghai Science and Technology Education Press15
23Hubei Science and Technology Press14
24Baihua Literature and Art Publishing House13
24Zhejiang University Press13
24China Textile and Apparel Press13
27Beijing Language and Culture University Press12
27Guangdong People's Publishing House12
27East China Normal University Press12
27Unity Press12
27Encyclopedia of China Publishing House12
32Jiangsu Juvenile and Children's Publishing House11
32Commercial Press11
32Shanghai Jiaotong University Press11
32Translation Publishing House11
32Zhongyuan Nongmin Press11
37Beijing Library Press10
37Dolphin Books10
37Foreign Languages Press10
37Yilin Press10
41Beijing Publishing House9
41Guangxi People's Publishing House9
41Nankai University Press9
41Shanghai Chinese Classics Publishing House9
41World Books Publishing Corporation9
41Modern Press9
41China Welfare Publishing House9
48Guizhou People's Publishing House8
48Harbin Publishing House8
48Shanghai Educational Publishing House8

Take Fudan University Press for example. In 2004, it exported 68 copyrights and imported 30 copyrights, achieving a trade surplus. Most of the 68 exported titles were high-quality original academic works, such as the Outline of National History and History of Chinese Knights-Errant. These academic works were written or compiled by experts and scholars known both at home and abroad.

A fair number of exported copyrights won National Book Awards, such as Maxims of Expert Programmers (with a supplementary CD-ROM) exported to Taiwan by the Publishing House of Electronics Industry, as well as Everyday Reading Series—365 Interesting Math Problems for Children, exported by Liaoning Children's Book Publishing House.


Total Volume In 2004, Chinese publishers imported 10,040 copyrights, down 19.8% from the total of 12,516 in 2003. According to the 2001–2004 statistics from the National Copyright Administration,5 China's copyright imports had grown rapidly since 2001, reaching a peak in 2003 before declining slightly. From 2001 to 2004, China published 90,000, 100,000, 110,000, and 120,000 new titles respectively with an annual increase of 10,000 titles. However, contrary to the steady growth of new titles, the proportion of imported copyrights among new titles declined (Figure 5.5).

Source Area and Language In 2004, mainland China imported copyrights from 37 countries and regions in six continents:

In terms of source area, foreign countries were the main sources for the mainland China's copyright imports, an obvious difference from copyright exports. In 2004, mainland China imported 1,452 copyrights from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, including Chinese copyrights of foreign works in the three regions, accounting for 14.5% of the total. China imported 8,588 copyrights from foreign countries, accounting for 85.5% of the total.

In 2004, the top six countries and regions exporting copyrights to mainland China were the United States, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, and France. Altogether 8,782 copyrights were imported from the above six countries and regions, accounting for 87.5% of the total. The number of copyrights imported from the United States was far more than those from other countries (Figure 5.6).

In 2003, the top six countries and regions for China's copyright imports were the same top six for 2004. From 1997 to 2002, the top six countries and regions were the United States, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and France. The United States ranked first with 15,838, accounting for 42%.6

English books from the UK and America ranked first, followed by Chinese from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and then Japanese, German, and French books.

Content In 2004, a total of 1,324 books on economics were imported, enjoying the largest proportion (about 13%) in terms of content category. Next were books on literature and industrial technology with almost the same proportions. Books of the three categories accounted for 36% of the total (see Table 5.11 and Figure 5.7).

6 Chen Hongjin and Hong Jiulai, "China's Current Copyright Trade: Analysis and Countermeasures," China Publishing Journal, no. 8 (2004).

 2004  2003 
RankingCategoryNumber of titlesProportion in total imported copyrights (%)RankingCategoryNumber of titlesProportion in total imported copyrights (%)
2Literature1,22412.192Industrial Technology1,47711.80
3Industrial Technology1,08810.843Culture and Science1,0478.37
4Culture, Science, Education, and Physical Education7297.264Literature7546.02
5Social Science4844.825Art5574.45
7Philosophy3813.797Medicine and Hygiene5014.00

Books on economics were mainly imported from the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2004, mainland China imported 917 and 217 copyrights on economics from the United States and the United Kingdom respectively, totaling 1,134, accounting for 85.6% of the total imported copyrights on economics. Among publishers importing such copyrights, China Renmin University Press ranked first with 241 copyrights, next was China CITIC Press with 95 copyrights, and third was Peking University Press with 84 copyrights.

Copyrights on literature and art were mainly imported from the United States and Taiwan. Mainland China imported 303 such copyrights from the United States, most of which were contemporary American literature. The 303 copyrights also included renewed copyrights of American classics, such as The Old Man and the Sea and Gone with the Wind. Copyrights imported from Taiwan can be divided into three types: Chinese literary classics, the works of local writers in Taiwan, and works on children's growth and emotions. China Electric Power Press imported the most copyrights on literature with a total of 229, among which 171 were from Italy, being world literary classics in English. Shanghai Translation Publishing House ranked second with 109 copyrights. Yilin Press ranked third with 94 copyrights.

Copyrights on industrial technology were mainly imported from the United States and Taiwan. China imported 485 copyrights from the United States, most of which were monographs on science and technology for professionals. Imported Japanese and Taiwanese copyrights were largely practical books on light industry and computer software, including 71 from Japan and 218 from Taiwan. China also imported 61 copyrights from Germany, mostly on specialized technologies. China Machine Press imported the most copyrights on industrial technology from the United States and Germany, with a total of 187 in 2004, followed by China Light Industry Press, which imported 102 copyrights mostly from Japan and Taiwan.

Imported copyrights on literature increased significantly in 2004 over 2003. More copyrights were imported from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan than in 2003. At the same time, books on social science were listed among the top five in 2004 and books on humanities and social science became a bright spot in copyright import.

Importer The top ten copyright-importing regions in 2004 were Central (Beijing), Shanghai, Liaoning, Hainan, Guangdong, Tianjin, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. If all regions were ranked by the per publisher average of imported copyrights, Hainan topped the list with 68.5 (Table 5.12).

RankingRegionNumber of publishersNumber of imported copyrights
RankingRegionNumber of publishersPer publisher average imported copyrights

The top ten publishers in terms of copyright imports in 2004 were: China Renmin University Press, China Machine Press, Peking University Press, Publishing House of the Electronics, Publishing House of the Electronics Industry, China Electric Power Press, World Books Publishing Corporation, Shanghai Translation Publishing House, China Light Industry Publishing House, China CITIC Press, and Commercial Press (Table 5.13).

RankingPublishersNumber of imported copyrights
1China Renmin University Press406
2China Machine Press403
3Peking University Press 348
4Publishing House of the Electronics Industry273
5 China Electric Power Press271
6World Books Publishing Corporation242
7Shanghai Translation Publishing House193
8China Light Industry Publishing House163
9China CITIC Press 161
10Commercial Press141
11Higher Education Press126
12China Social Science Press119
13Yilin Press114
14Guangxi Normal University Press102
15Law Press China92
15China Construction Industry Press92
17Chemical Industry Press85
18Liaoning Science and Technology Publishing House84
19Dalian University of Technology Press77
19Science Press77
21Tsinghua University Press76
22China Financial and Economic Publishing House74
23Tianjin Science and Technology Translation and Publishing Corporation69
24Nanhai Publishing Company68
25The People's Publishing House65
26Shandong Science and Technology Press63
27East China Normal University Press61
28China Railway Publishing House59
29SDX Joint Publishing Company56
30Jieli Publishing House53
30Economic Management Publishing House53
30Shanghai People's Publishing House53
33Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House50
34Hainan Publishing House49
34Hunan Literature and Art Publishing House49
36Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Press48
37China Water Conservancy and Hydropower Press46
38Dongbei University of Finance and Economics Press41
39Anhui Science and Technology Press40
39Jiuzhou Press40
39Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press40
42China Friendship Publishing Company 3939
43New World Press38
44Liaoning Education Press37
44Shanghai Far East Publishers37
44Zhejiang Science and Technology Press37
47Chongqing University Press 3636
48Peking University Medical Press34
49Central Compilation and Translation Press32
50Fudan University Press30


China's copyright trade has by and large been in deficit all along. In recent years, there have been signs of deficit reduction. The total of imported copyrights was much greater than that of exported copyrights, with the ratio between imports and exports exceeding 10:1 or rather 8,250:677 in 2001. After reaching a peak in 2001, the ratio steadily decreased: 7.9:1 in 2002, though rising again to 15.4:1 in 2003, but gradually dropping to 7.6:1 in 2004 (see Table 5.14 and Figure 5.8).

It should be noted that some exported copyrights were actually reexported copyrights of imported books. The majority of exported copyrights of Yilin Press and Shanghai Translation Publishing House concerned imported copyrights in traditional Chinese, or global Chinese, resulting in a smaller number of exported original Chinese copyrights. Moreover, if copyright imports and exports of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao were excluded, the copyright trade deficit with respect to foreign countries would be larger. Looking at the category, the 2004 ratio of imports to exports was around 30:1 while the royalty income ratio was much larger.

In terms of distribution, copyright trade (including imports and exports) took place in 30 provinces, municipalities directly under the Central Government, and autonomous regions in 2004. Four of them had a zero deficit, though on a relatively small scale: Xinjiang's copyright imports equaled exports, two for each; Gansu had three; the ratio of imports to exports of Hebei was 30:30; and that of Henan stood at 41:41. Inner Mongolia was the only one with a numeric trade surplus, the ratio being 3:10. The other 25 regions were in deficit. Hainan had the biggest deficit with a ratio of 122:1.

 Total of imported copyrightsYoY growth (%)Total of exported copyrightsYoY growth (%)Ratio of imports to exports
RankingPublisherNumber of exported copyrightsNumber of imported copyrightsTotal volume of copyright trade
1China Machine Press7403410
2China Renmin University Press3406409
3Peking University Press28348376
4Publishing House of the Electronics Industry35273308
5China Electric Power Press0271271
6World Books Publishing Corporation9242251
7Shanghai Translation Publishing House11193204
8China Light Industry Press1163164
9China CITIC Press0161161
10Higher Education Press34126160
11Commercial Press11141152
12China Social Science Press6119125
13Yilin Press10114124
14Law Press China2792119
15Liaoning Science and Technology Publishing House3484118
16The People's Publishing House4165106
17Guangxi Normal University Press3102105
18China Construction Industry Press69298
18Fudan University Press683098
20Chemical Industry Press08585
21Dalian University of Technology Press77784
21Jiuzhou Press444084
23Peking University Medical Press463480
24Tsinghua University Press37679
25Science Press07777
26SDX Joint Publishing Company205676
27China Financial and Economic Press17475
28East China Normal University Press126173
29Tianjin Science and Technology Translation and Publishing Corporation26971
30Nanhai Publishing Company06868
31Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Press164864
32Shandong Science and Technology Press06363
33China Railway Publishing House25961
34The People's Sports Publishing House421860
35Hunan House Juvenile and Children's Publishing302656
36Shanghai People's Publishing House25355
37Jieli Publishing House05353
37Economic Management Publishing House05353
39Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing05050
40Hainan Publishing House14950
40Hunan Literature and Art Publishing House14950
42Shandong People's Publishing House42648
43China Water Conservancy and Hydropower Press14647
44New World Press83846
45Shanghai Science and Technology Education Press152944
46Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press24042
47Dongbei University of Finance and Economics Press04141
47Anhui Science and Technology Press14041
47Shanghai Far East Publishers43741
47China Textile Publishing House132841

In terms of trading countries and regions, the United States, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan had become the most important trading partners of mainland China's copyright trade. According to the statistical data of the Cultural and Education Section of the British Council, in 2004 Chinese publishers signed over 2,500 contracts with British publishers and over 4,000 with American publishers.7

Among these top 50 publishers, six had a trade surplus: Fudan University Press, Jiuzhou Press, Peking University Medical Press, the People's Sports Publishing House, Hunan Juvenile and Children's Publishing House, and Shandong People's Publishing House (see Table 5.15).

7 Cultural and Education Section of the British Council, Towards the British Publishing Industry (data on Shanghai Book Fair) (July 2005).

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